Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Camp 3

Returned yesterday from a sojourn up to camp 3. Chris Szymiec, Jake Meyer and I left camp 2 (6,450 m) the day before and finished fixing rope to 7,100 meters. We had two high altitude porters, Mohammed and Fareed, helping out carrying rope and a three man tent. At 7,000 meters we decided to let them go back down so they dropped their loads on a ridge line. There were some dead tents buried in the snow here and, since it wasn't clear how far we still had to go and clouds were gathering around us, I decided to chop out one of the tents and pitch ours in its place while Jake and Chris continued fixing above. It turned out we were closer than I thought and they returned shortly and helped to finish our platform.

Although our platform was large, sleeping over 7,000 meters was not very comfortable. It was pretty hard to work up much of an appetite, too. But the views were amazing and we had a good time laughing, melting snow and talking to the other camps on the radio. That night we had climbers in camps 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Shot some good video of climbing on the way up, the spectacular views and making dinner in the tent. In the morning, we climbed the last 100 meters to camp 3 where we fixed some more rope and stashed our tent. Fabrizio was descending from camp 4, refixing questionable rope along the way while other members were climbing up from camp 2 for their turn sleeping in camp 3. We sat in the camp for awhile enjoying the views, but feeling a bit knackered from the altitude. After fixing a bit more around the corner from camp, we descended to basecamp, 2,000 meters below.

Camp 3 sits below a large rock and contains several abandoned tents. After the serac fall last summer that killed 11 people, tents were abandoned at many high camps on the mountain. It's strange to find them, still stocked with food, fuel and miscellaneous items. They're mostly destroyed after being up there for a year, but one at camp 2 has actually been housing us this year.

The expedition has nine or ten days left. We are leaving here on August 7th. The clouds are closing in and it's probably going to snow tonight. The next possible day to move will probably be the 1st of August, perhaps the 31st of July. This means one last chance for the summit. We spent lunch discussing the logistics of this and what the possibilities are. We'll see how it all shakes out.

I spent last night and most of today getting some good photographs and footage. I walked down towards Broad Peak base camp this morning and got some good photographs of K2 with my Hasselblad. The mountains here are so huge that I find my lenses are not wide enough. I had to walk away from base camp in order to even fit K2 in the frame.

With our departure coming up so quickly I'm thinking a lot about what else I need for my intended Abruzzi documentary. Being on an expedition schedule makes it very hard to get every shot I'd like to. My hope is that with the material I get on this trip I can raise enough funds to come back next Summer and really focus on recreating Sella's photographs and exactly retracing the Duke's footsteps. There is the additional angle of the "Karakoram Anomaly," too. More time needs to be taken to gather the necessary information to make historical comparisons about glacier positions, mass, height and so forth. But this trip has been a fantastic start. The parallels between the 1909 expedition and ours are very interesting and I've gotten a lot of exciting footage. There are several projects that could be completed from what we've gotten already. I look forward to getting to work editing and working towards completion of the larger project next year.

1 comment:

  1. Its been fun following your blog of this trip. Give me a call re alpine rock when you get back in the greater ballard area.

    Ryan B